Robert “Bob” Gommeson is one of Australia’s worst child rapists. His identity was suppressed, until now !
The name of one of Victoria’s worst child sex offenders can now be revealed after a court-issued suppression order hiding the former policeman’s identity was lifted. Though Robert “Bob” Gommeson was convicted and sentenced in 2016 for the horrendous abuse of nine children, he was protected by an order that prohibited the publication of his name.
Gommeson brutalised nine children, the youngest of them just five years old, between 1967 and 1983. The 68-year-old, who was working at Hastings, attacked two children in the police station and another in the back of a divisional van.
In one incident, he held his police-issue revolver to the head of one of his victims as he raped her, according to the victim’s testimony to the County Court in 2016. A parent reported him to police in 1979, but he wasn’t charged. Instead, Gommeson resigned from the force and moved to New South Wales, where he offended against another seven children between 2005 and 2011.
Gommeson, who was sentenced to jail for the NSW offences in 2014, pleaded guilty to the Victorian crimes and was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison in 2016. When the Victorian proceedings first began in 2012, a suppression order was put in place to ensure a fair trial. But because it was made under the Magistrate’s Court Act, there was no expiration date. Such orders now should have an expiration date of five years under the Open Courts Act.
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg agreed to revoke the order in a win for Gommeson’s survivors in a climate of criticism of the courts over increasing secrecy. Tracey May, a survivor, has been fighting to name Gommeson since his conviction.
“It gives us, the survivors, our voice back,” Ms May said.
“It is one of the biggest reliefs, but it’s more the empowerment and knowing he can’t hide behind a suppression order any more.”
We at FACAA wholly applaud the decision of Magistrate Rozencwaig ! Well done and thank you for caring more about survivors of child abuse and the safety of children than the rights of a child rapist !
When the case progressed to the County Court, the higher court did not revoke the order and nor did it issue a new one, but Gommeson remained protected under the pseudonym Lewis Goddard.
“I faced him in court and I wasn’t afraid for the first time in my life. And then to be told I couldn’t speak his name,” Ms May said.
“He can’t be protected.”
Ms May said she hopes other survivors can find courage from her story.
We at FACAA were very proud to meet Tracey May yesterday at Parliament House and we have no doubt that many survivors will find courage in her bravery and refusal to give up whilst fighting against the odds, she most definitely inspired us.
Thank you Tracey and thank you to the fastest walking Senator Derryn Hinch (boy can he move 🙂 ) and his staff for bringing us together.
With the courage and conviction of survivors like Tracey
and the many other brave men and women we were honoured to meet, we have faith that justice will prevail.
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